Jul 23, 2006 at 5:08 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13


1000+ Head-Fier
May 22, 2003
Anyone use manual typewriters? Here's a pic of a recent listening/working setup I have been enjoying. Hermes Rocket Portable Typewriter, RSA SR-71, Sony D-777, Grado RS-1. Anyone else use a manual? I am looking for another one, maybe an Olympia. The Rocket is nice for a portable, but the action could be smoother. I have been working at this "station" for a few days now. It is a small shelf and I have been writing standing up. The typewriter is great because I don't constantly edit myself while I work (something I do too much). For whatever reason, I don't edit myself at a typewriter, probably because there is no delete button. Many people prefer the manual because they have to think more before they set anything down. For me it is the opposite, I think too much at the computer. I also love the sound and the mechanical nature of it. But the biggest benefit of the manual as far as production goes is the fact that there is no internet on it! No DVDs, no youtube.com, no minesweeper (I'm addicted to it).

Jul 23, 2006 at 5:23 AM Post #2 of 13
Man thats a pretty cool looking type writer.. Have you owned that for a long time or is it a recent pick up.. Unfortunately I can't say I'm into typewriters as I havne't used one of those since I was in elementary school when I borred my mom's friends typewriter for a project...
Jul 23, 2006 at 5:29 AM Post #3 of 13
I like it! It's a recent pick up for me, but the machine is from the 60's I think. The technique is totally different, but easy to get used to. With this particular one, it's almost impossible to use the normal 5-fingered pattern. I use my two index fingers! The throw if the keys is just too long. I've got lots of experience using a standard QWERTY keyboard (as we all do) so speed is not such a problem. Accuracy can be, as well as finger tip soreness! I've been teaching myself not to hit the keys harder than is necessary.

Again, this particular model is known for requiring a harder stroke.
Jul 23, 2006 at 6:04 AM Post #4 of 13
I haven't used a keyboard since middle school when our computer broke but getting one is something I've been thinking about ever since. How is the upkeep on one of those? Do you have to replace the tape often? I'm happy to see people are keeping older ways alive.
Jul 23, 2006 at 6:10 AM Post #5 of 13
Mind if I ask what do you use it for? I mean, do you write books or something?
Jul 23, 2006 at 6:16 AM Post #6 of 13
I can't comment on the upkeep just yet because I am still new to it. But I would imagine it is not very difficult to maintain. Occasional cleaning of the type bars and a ribbon change here and there. Ribbons are not difficult to find.

I use it to write all kinds of stuff. Just thoughts and ideas as well as correspondence. I am a writer and I am working on my first novel. I've written a few thousand words on it already and I am thinking of transferring the stuff worth keeping over to my computer. The only snag might be that any work you want to keep in electronic form must be re-typed into a word processing document. But this is not a big deal for me because I am used to re-typing and re-writing a lot. One other reason I bought it is because it is closer to writing in a notebook than it is to using a computer. So I am using it as a notebook. My handwriting is absolutely horrific (to the point where if I am going fast, I can't even read it later). I can type faster than I can write legibly and the typewriter is good for this.
Jul 23, 2006 at 9:43 AM Post #7 of 13
Check this place out:


There are some serious collectors out there.

We've got a number of aging IBM Selectric IIs at work. They're built like tanks and seem to last forever. Thing is, computer keyboards and word processors are so deeply ingrained now, that they're uncomfortable to use.
Jul 23, 2006 at 10:52 PM Post #8 of 13
I've had three Hermes Typewriters...still have the one my parents gave me for College in 1971. I clean it every five years or so, and change the ribbon as necessary. It will outlast me by two or three generations, I am sure.
Jul 23, 2006 at 11:07 PM Post #9 of 13
I use to have a typewriter somewhere back in elementary school (some odd reason my parents didn't think a computer was necessary
). But that thing was horrible to me, I ditched it in less then a year a got myself a computer. It took several more years to convince the parents I needed internet connection.

I consider myself an amatuer writer and I understand the distrations a computer can provide. Have you considered getting a Alphasmart? I've read on a few writing forums that it works well for writers. Basically you just type a text document and its transferable to a computer so there's no need to retype. No internet, no games, no distraction. Great battery life too, some users have had theirs for months without having to change the battery.
Jul 24, 2006 at 1:54 AM Post #11 of 13
I use typewriters all the time. I used to have over 25 of them. Most of them really old like from the early 30's and 40's. I also have/use old adding machines with the big crank handles. I also use #2 pencils and paper based planners.

I was a technology consultant for 10 years and finally became really disenchanted. I really think (not as much in recent years) technology consumes a lot of hidden resources that people don't consider when evaluating its usefulness/value.
Jul 24, 2006 at 2:53 AM Post #12 of 13
I have a friend who has one of those alpha smart things. He stopped using it because the screen is not so great. Not many lines viewable. It seems like a good idea, though.

KYT: Have you used any other typewriters? Which ones do you find the smoothest? Can you compare them to the Rocket?

It is funny how much useless stuff I have and how much it appeals to me. I use mechanical watches that are not nearly as accurate as quartz. One of them I have to wind every day! I use a typewriter and I listen to music through tubes!

I don't know why. They seem alive to me... I can't resist these mechanical things.
May 13, 2020 at 11:13 PM Post #13 of 13
You can still buy typewriter ribbon for your typewriters. I’ve read that Woody Allen still uses a typewriter for writing his ideas and there are advantages.

With a typewriter, there are much less distractions. It’s you, the keys and the paper. No temptation to check your e mails or sneak in a YouTube video or checking the weather. If you’re old fashioned and conservative, you could arguably be more productive in the category of creative writing.

Many great authors used the typewriter so in a way, technology is not that important. Too many technology gadgets choices can be paralyzing. I mean look at Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. They’ve each written crazy enormous amounts of material without a laptop.
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